Ingredients for Life
This artist's conception symbolically represents complex organic molecules, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, seen in the early universe. These large molecules, comprised of carbon and hydrogen, are considered among the building blocks of life. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is the first telescope to see polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons so early -- 10 billion years further back in time than seen previously. Spitzer detected these molecules in galaxies when our universe was one-fourth of its current age of about 14 billion years. These complex molecules are very common on Earth. They form any time carbon-based materials are not burned completely. They can be found in sooty exhaust from cars and airplanes, and in charcoal broiled hamburgers and burnt toast. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are pervasive in galaxies like our own Milky Way, and play a significant role in star and planet formation.
Mediatype imageCreator NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)Date 0000Relation Spitzer Finds Life Components in Young Universe [ http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2005-15/release.shtml ]; Understanding Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons [ http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/features/articles/20050627.shtml ] Spitzer Space Telescope [ http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/spitzer/ ]Relation Spitzer Detection of PAH and Silicate Dust Features in the Mid-Infrared Spectra of z~2 Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies [ http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0504336 ]Insightuid nasaNAS~12~12~64291~168762Source http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2005-15bWhat Spitzer Space TelescopeWhat EarthIdentifier SPITZ-ssc2005-15bAddeddate 2009-10-06 01:38:05Publicdate 2009-10-06 05:40:44